We had the good fortune of connecting with Sean Addo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sean, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I always used to say, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Boy, is that a terrible philosophy. I got so consumed with achieving a goal or finishing a project that I could be completely absent even if I were only a few feet away. It’s a great way to ruin every relationship and miss out on some of life’s greatest moments. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about the hustle, but as I get older, I’ve realized that although your mind may say yes, your body will eventually say no. It was my wife that pointed it out. She’s known me most of my life, and being locked into the work was just something I always did. The truth is, you make time for the things you care about. So when it came to her, I had to figure it out. I try to stick to hard-outs for work. We plan marriage time, my time, and prioritizing the spaces between the rat race. It’s a marathon both physically and mentally, so don’t die trying to sprint. No one sprints!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I make movies! More specifically, I tell bold and distinct genre stories about identity that draw power from African heritage. I’m a writer/director, so I’m constantly developing original work. My imagination sets me apart from others. I pull from personal experiences, mixed with my strange obsessions of mythology, manga/anime, comics, culture, religion, spirituality, and other mediums. Somehow I’m able to infuse these things into whatever I create.
I can honestly say I got to where I am today with a lot of faith and prayer. The statistics of being a black director at the studio level are dismal. On the days where my goals feel the furthest, it’s my friends and family that keep me going.
I think any legacy that’s worth building should feel impossible. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. The plan is to bring Africa into the imaginations of the world. We have to inspire other filmmakers to share stories of change, hope, and wonder in ways that allow us to experience a continent that has continuously persevered. African history is still untold, and our future is severely underrepresented. Only recently has Africa scraped the surface of the fantasy genre in film and TV. So, being a first-generation Ghanaian-American and using my creative voice to imagine us in these spaces is no easy task. But, I have to keep going. Besides, I’m going to have to be very successful to pay off these student loans. Fight On!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
You have to hike when you come to LA. The trails in Malibu are gorgeous, and the views of the ocean are breathtaking. Then stop at The Griddle. They have the dopest breakfast in LA. If you’re not fighting the “Itis” there are tons of day parties, but be safe; we’re still in a pandemic. If you want to relax you can hit the beach. I like Manhattan, it’s chill, but Dockwhiler has fire pits. You can also hop on a scooter and ride from the wonderfully strange Venice Boardwalk to Santa Monica Pier. If it’s Sunday, reserve tickets to the Laugh Factory’s Chocolate Sunday Comedy Show and catch an early dinner at Sweet Chix. They have the best chicken and waffles in town. And yes, Sweet Chix is better than Roscoes. As for nightlife, there are always concerts and parties in LA or my neighborhood, Inglewood. The ETA “What’s The Move” app is clutch for the culture. I’m a big Afrobeats guy. If you follow DJmajorleague100’s IG, it’s a guaranteed turn-up, and the crowd is usually trying to sweat, if you know what I mean.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My wife, Mrs. Dee Dee Addo, deserves all the love. As a therapist, she changes the world one person at a time and still makes space for my craziness. The day I accept any major award will be because of her selfless, no-nonsense, loving attitude. My mother is right behind her. She used to tell my siblings and I, “no one will understand the size of your dreams, so don’t even waste your time explaining it to them.” Then my dad, sister, and brother, Shy, with who I often collaborate. And I could never forget the squad back in Ohio who still believes in the dream after all these years. “Boys boys for life!” They know what that means. I can’t wait for all of them to see my new film, ROOTED!
Ketsia Vedrine Matt Halla Safiyyah Fatin